Newcastle and West Brom go into Sunday’s league finale desperate for three points to finish in the top 10.Newcastle manager Alan Pardew knows a win at St James’s Park will help his depleted squad into eighth place in the Premier League, while West Brom boss Roy Hodgson is eyeing victory to finish ninth.
Pardew’s task of achieving that feat has been made more difficult with up to 10 first-team players on the treatment table.
The other factor driving the Toon Army is that three points will ensure they finish ahead of arch-rivals Sunderland.
“It’s there for us,” Pardew told the Newcastle Chronicle.
“One win and we could be in the top 10.”
“Hopefully we can get the place revved up to see out the season.”
“It’s the end of what has been a magnificent season from my point of view.”
“I will be talking to people this week and making sure we can get a full house to see the season out in real style.”
Pardew was proud of his players after the 2-2 draw against Chelsea, with youngsters such as Sammy Ameobi, Kazenga LuaLua and Shane Ferguson all playing their part.
Meanwhile, Alan Smith and Leon Best are both looking for minutes against the Baggies.
Smith was an unused sub at Chelsea in his first game back from an ankle problem suffered at Sunderland in January.
Best has also endured ankle problems, but the Republic of Ireland striker missed out on the squad against the Blues.
Meanwhile, Hodgson is desperate to keep Albion on an even keel as thoughts of next season start to develop.
“We must be realistic at all times,” Hodgson said.
“When three other clubs get relegated, we have to be honest enough to say ‘there but for the grace of God’.”
“When we return in August we must go into games with the same attitude at the start of the season that we’ve had at the end of this season, because every game and every point will be precious to us once again.”
“Survival will be our goal again and often that will be down to determination, to fighting spirit, because we are not going to dance our way to survival, and that goes for a good 50 or 60 per cent of the teams in the League next season.”
West Brom may look to give highly regarded James Hurst and George Thorne even more first-team exposure at Newcastle.
“Whether they get a start or are on the bench is something we’ll have to talk about towards the end of the week,” first-team coach Michael Appleton said.
“Hursty’s already had a bit of a look-in earlier in the season but George is really starting to mature. You could see that in his performances in the reserves.”
But on-loan striker Carlos Vela, who was left out of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Everton, has probably played his last game for the Baggies.